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Join your community for Rabbi Rick Shapiro’s First Shabbat at Beth Torah on Friday, July 4th Congregation Beth Torah Monthly Newsletter

The Blessings of Change:


On Sunday, June 1st at 4:00 p.m., we will be dedicating our Torah scroll that we have been writing this year, and Rabbi Mark Levin will be honored on the occasion of his retirement and transition to his new Founding Rabbi role at Congregation Beth Torah. Look for more information on what will be an amazing event on our Website and in your mailbox.

June 2014 • Issue 279•Sivan/Tamuz 5774


Rabbi Mark H. Levin June 2014 In early 1988 about two dozen families decided it would be best if I would remain to serve the Jewish population of greater Kansas City, and offered me the position of rabbi at a new congregation in southern Johnson County. I had been offered the senior rabbi position at a 2,300 family congregation in another city, and had to decide between the two congregations. My rabbi and advisor, Eugene Lipman, of Temple Sinai in Washington, D.C. told me there is only one rabbi to be in a congregation: the first. I decided to attempt to make a difference in American Jewry by leading a startup congregation with a new vision rather than redirecting a renowned institution. We started in July with around two dozen families. But, in September when Harold Sader called the first congregational meeting, over 100 families with 70 children in the religious school had signed up. By Yom Kippur, 600 people attended worship at a rented meeting hall in a hotel, and we were off and running. As Carol Sader commented looking at the crowd, “Poof: instant congregation!”

Sunday, June 8, 2014 8:00 or 9:00 a.m.*

Pick Your Route! 10, 25, 40 or 62 mile ride through southern Johnson County with on-route support, SAG stations & after party featuring awards for Joel’s Ride Homebrew Beer Competition - * 8:00 a.m. – 40 & 62 mile ride begins / 9:00 a.m. – 10 & 25 mile ride begins

Our event supports community organizations providing services to feed the hungry. Register online at Keyword: Joelsride Visit us on Facebook @ Joel’s Ride “Wheels for Meals” Follow us on Twitter: JoelsRide

Rabbis receive most of the public credit for the success of American congregations. It’s been my privilege to serve these last 26 years, while the hard work and initiatives of others have most often been publicly credited to me. However, Beth Torah’s success is undoubtedly a result of the interactive, combined efforts and creativity of so many people. Our education program was initiated by a volunteer, Cheryl Harris, followed by our first professional educator, Steve Burnstein (now Rabbi Steve Burnstein) as we grew to several hundred families and students. Rabbi Vered Harris designed and ran our school and then program life for nearly half the life of Beth Torah, and certainly had an enormous influence on the development of our community, which continues to this day. The accreditation of the Weiner Religious School is according to her design. Years ago Cantor Barbara Finn set in place the foundational structure for our music program, and that was further developed and enhanced by Linda Sweenie. Rabbi Harris designed and oversaw our educational and youth programs, but for the last 17 years Marcia Rittmaster made sure those programs ran, created much of the youth program, (Continued on page 2)

Worship (Continued from Page 1) and was liaison to parents and teachers. Laura Intfen welcomed our new members and invented much of our volunteer structure. Denise Pakula, Bill Solomon, Jeanne Kort Adler and Jack Feldman provided our administration, and Jeanne worked diligently on our caring community, followed by Laura. The elected presidents of Beth Torah, from Hal Sader to our current and incoming presidents, Michelle Cole and Linda Zappulla, have indelibly left their creative marks on our congregation; while our Boards and committee chairpeople have week to week and month to month accepted the responsibility for the fiscal and program life of our sacred community. It has been my privilege to set the direction of this congregation for a quarter of a century. I will admit to many errors. I am, after all, as human as the next person. But you have afforded me the opportunity to be involved in the intimate thoughts and actions of hundreds of Jewish families struggling with daily existence and the meaning of a modern American Judaism in their day to day existence, their most meaningful life cycle events, and in the crises they face for better or worse. It has been my desire and commitment to design a congregation to enhance and bless the life of the Jewish people, and to provide a model for creative Judaism: social justice, worship and study, for the 21st century. Whether we have succeeded or failed only you can judge. But we have attempted to develop and innovate a Judaism for the needs of the Jewish people today, in a pluralistic world. I look forward to working with Rabbi Rick Shapiro and to welcoming Emily Tummons, as well as Laura Intfen and Aaron Nielsenshultz in their new roles. Rabbi Rebecca Reice has been doing incredible work; and we could not be Beth Torah without those who work in support of all we do: Robin O’Bryan, Barbara Kitt, and Sharon Altman. Our new music program has been designed by Judith Benson, and we would not be where we are without her overwhelmingly helpful efforts. I believe that Beth Torah is destined to move from strength to strength, and look forward to worshiping and participating in our renewed community. I will continue, God willing, to work with families in some of their most beautiful, painful and caring times. But the vision of the future will come from the next generation of Jews who seek a serious yet modern Judaism in their lives. I have attempted to enable a community to live up to the ideals and future of the Jewish people, with respect for the past, but always with an eye on the meaning of community that will face us tomorrow. God bless you as you continue with this sacred task.


Presented By: Village Shalom | Page 2

Monday, August 18, 2014 Brookridge Golf & Fitness Golfers and Sponsors are welcome! Call Sharon at the Beth Torah office (913) 498-2212

Torah Portion & Haftarah June 3/4 7 Sivan Shavuot Exod. 19:1-8, 20:1-14 Haftarah – Isaiah 42:1-12 The Book of Ruth is Read June 6/7 9 Sivan B’haalot’cha Num. 8:1-12:16 Haftarah Zecharia 2:14-4:7 June 13/14 16 Sivan S’lach L’cha Num. 13:1-15:41 Haftarah – Joshua 2:1-24 June 20/21 23 Sivan Korach Num. 16:1-18:32 Haftarah – I Samuel 11:14-12:22 June 27/28 30 Sivan Chukat Num. 19:1-22:1 Haftarah Judges 11:1-33

Kabbalah Shabbat Join the Kabbalat Shabbat Study Group on Friday, June 20th, at 5:30 p.m. in the Sader/Shimkin Library Chapel for a moving and personal way to welcome Shabbat. We’ll examine readings, recite poetry, explore guided meditations, sing songs, or light candles as a way to enhance your Shabbat experience. No foreknowledge of Kabbalah is necessary. This group is open to anyone who wishes to explore the mysticism found within our religion on a more intimate level, so please feel free to bring a friend.

Leadership President’s Corner Michelle Cole, Past Board President The time has come for me to write my last Tekiah article as your president. I can honestly say without the support of the amazing Board, executive Board, staff and congregation as a whole, nothing would be achieved. It is not a one-person show to lead the congregation. It takes a community. That is what we have here. During my time as president, many changes have occurred. Just to name a few: Rabbi Vered Harris left to lead her own congregation. Rabbi Rebecca Reice joined us as our new Rabbi Educator. Our Board introduced the new Dues Commitment program. Rabbi Mark Levin announced his retirement. Marcia Rittmaster announced her retirement. The Torah Writing Experience was born and implemented. Our community celebrated 25 years with festivities! Various committees formed to plan and implement all of these changes. Change is good. Change is hard. BUT change is good. We will only continue to grow as a community through the strength and passion we have for this place we call home, Congregation Beth Torah. While my tenure as president has had its challenges and curve balls, it has been one of the most gratifying experiences of my life. The lessons I have learned have been invaluable. And for that I thank each and every one of you. Three years ago, when Janice Schonwetter called me to say the nominating committee selected me to be on the slate as the next president, I immediately talked with my family about this commitment. I also called my mom in OKC, who, when I was in high school, was Temple president. The words of support started that day from my husband, kids, parents, friends and family and have never ended. I couldn’t have done this without them.

Mazel Tov To: Adrianne and Vic Applebaum on the birth of their granddaughter, Elliana Sylvia. Hedy Goldman named Volunteer of the year for BOSCO – Belton Ozanam Southland Cooperative. Linda and Jeff Schlachter on the birth of their granddaughter, Lily Madison Schlachter, born on February 21, 2014. Laura and Tim Intfen on the occasion of their daughter, Erika, graduating from Avila University with a BA in Music with an emphasis in Vocal Performance and a BFA in Theatre with an emphasis in Acting. Rabbi Mark Levin and Kacy Childs Levin on the occasion of Adam Levin graduating from Indiana University in Bloomington with a BA in the Recording Arts.

I will “sign off” one last time in this space in the Tekiah with this quote I read recently on Twitter. Yes, it was posted by that “other” coffee shop, Starbucks. I thought it was quite fitting.

Goodwill Clothing Drive

“Community is what we all have in common. Let’s take care of it together.” Thank you again for your continued support. See you soon. Michelle

Beth Torah is partnering with Goodwill to collect clothes. There’s a donation barrel in the entryway to Beth Torah, so bring your gentlyused clothing donations and drop them off in the bin. Donation receipts are available in the office.

Thank you for your Donation! | Page 3

A Message from the Incoming President Linda Zappulla What an extraordinary way to start my term as president, with the events of June 1st. We will dedicate the Torah scroll that our community wrote this past year and celebrate our founding rabbi and spiritual leader Rabbi Mark Levin as he transitions to his new role of Founding Rabbi. Looking into the coming year, we anticipate change, along with stability, as Rabbi Shapiro arrives on July 1st, followed by Emily Tummons on August 1st. As they get acquainted with Beth Torah, we look forward to their new insights and fresh voices. In developing the budget for our coming fiscal year, your Board faced hard choices, and we appreciate your support. Our commitment is to achieving financial balance while retaining and enhancing the values and priorities that make Beth Torah special. In part, we see a return to our roots of volunteerism – we thank those who have already stepped up to lead the new Nosh Committee, and welcome all of you to participate when and how you can. Often, our members have told us they didn’t know about something, or wish they had known sooner. Our intention is to communicate often without becoming annoying. We are using all the communications vehicles at our disposal – Tekiah, hard copy letters and postcards, E-mails, bi-weekly CBT-eNews, Facebook, Twitter and, of course, our Website. We will continue to use surveys, focus groups and congregational forums to get your input, and create opportunities for dialog. Please feel free to speak with me or any of our Board members when you see us around the building – we try to wear our name badges so you will know who we are! I am honored and excited to begin my term as president. I have lots of ideas about how to communicate and how to lead the Board. My leadership, however, is for Congregation Beth Torah, not for me. The vision we will clarify and refine as we move forward will not be mine. It will be yours. It will be my privilege to help bring it to life. Linda Zappulla 2014/2015 Beth Torah Board President

Harvesters Backsnack Program Looks Ahead to Another Successful School Year Beth Torah continues to participate in the Harvesters Backsnack Program and will be partnering with an elementary school starting again in September to distribute food packs to children in need. If you are able to join the Beth Torah Backsnack team, please contact Diane Balanoff at (913) 238-4276. You may contribute as little as one hour a month, or whatever fits into your schedule, and you will be making a difference in the lives of many children. | Page 4

Sponsor our weekly Friday night community nosh for only $100! Bring your Simcha to Beth Torah and celebrate with us at Friday evening worship. Call the office at (913) 498-2212

Learning Hebrew

Rabbi Rebecca Reice, Rabbi Educator

Summer Torah


une is frontloaded with special events. As you know, on June 1st we celebrate the completion of writing our own Beth Torah Torah scroll. If that weren’t enough excitement, on June 1st we are also celebrating our founding spiritual leader Rabbi Mark Levin. And, of course, don’t miss Joel’s Ride on June 8th.


he core of what I want to share with you this month begins on June 3rd. You see as evening falls on June 3rd, we begin the celebration of Shavuot, the holiday of receiving the Torah at Sinai. This Shavuot would not be complete without you bringing your picnic dinner to our yard around 6:00 p.m. (Beth Torah will provide dessert) and outdoor worship at 6:30 p.m. with blessings for high school seniors and everyone going to camp. This Shavuot will also be our first opportunity to celebrate reading from our new Torah. We will kick off our summer season with many celebrations, but the Torah we read on Erev Shavuot is the Torah that we wrote together, it belongs to every one of us. The Torah we wrote is part of a tradition that spans millennia. It is a Torah that is so much bigger than its 304,805 letters or 79,847 words. It is filled with stories, values and lessons that have transcended time and culture. It is profoundly transportable; it is with you in your hearts and on your lips, everywhere you go.


o, if you are going to camp, take Torah with you in your behavior and your heart. If you are going on vacation, seek out a way to make Shabbat special and different, even as you travel. If you are visiting family this summer, or if they are coming to your house, this time will be a great opportunity to share your different rituals and traditions. You might even make a few new memories over a Shabbat table, outside, under the stars. Or perhaps bring your friends and family to Beth Torah for the delightful convergence of Shabbat and the 4th of July, the only day of the year when the whole country lights fireworks, instead of candles, for Shabbat. But seriously, it will be a loud, beautiful and spirited first Shabbat to welcome Rabbi Rick Shapiro to our bimah.


hough it is not in June, it is important to say that our community’s Torah expands further this summer with the arrival of Rabbi Rick and Lynn Shapiro to Kansas City. Rabbi Rick Shapiro will begin with us on July 1st, and I look forward to the Summer Torah he has to teach us.

nd, of course, I want to put in a brief plug for the Book of Torah that is read during these hot summer months: Numbers. The Book of Bamidbar (lit., in the wilderness), as the Book of Numbers is called in Hebrew, is brimming with rebellions and miracles. And don’t forget that our beloved Priestly Benediction comes from Numbers 6:24-26. There are a lot of blessings to be found in Summer Torah, you just have to know how to find them. May your summer be enriched by the Torah you study and by the Torah you live! -Rabbi Rebecca Reice | Page 5

Connections The definition of a crisis is: a situation that seriously and immediately endangers life, property, or the enterprise. Crises are characteristically uncommon, unpredictable and sudden. Crises demand an immediate response in order to save lives, avert secondary damage and restore normal operations. I recently conducted a completely non-scientific survey on Facebook and asked simply, “What makes you feel safe?” The answers were varied and interesting. Many people mentioned other people, their spouses, friends, hugs from their family members. Some of the answers contained bonds to their faith bringing them the feeling of security, whether it was the Shema specifically or just keeping their faith in their heart. One congregant mentioned cutting themselves off from the news and keeping reality in perspective to keep from overreacting. Another mentioned a real-life hero that was by his side when a possibly life-threatening accident was narrowly averted and people were there to help. Since the awful events of April 13th at the Jewish Community Center, I have been asked by many congregants if we have a crisis management plan. The answer is, “Yes, we do.” But it is outdated and needs to be viewed, reviewed, shared and followed. There have been some immediate changes at Beth Torah. None of which have probably caught your eyes or ears yet. Chimes between the front doors and the office have been activated and a camera installed in the breezeway. These have opened up eyes and ears to the staff in the office and have already increased our security. More little changes like that will be coming, all in the name of security. I have met with a Crime Prevention Officer of the Community Policing Unit of the Overland Park Police Department and he has recommended numerous, easy/ low or no-cost changes for our building, including our school. The overall implementation of these changes will be a group effort as Aaron Nielsenshultz and I work with our newly appointed Security Liaison to the Board, Bob Milgrim. Bob will be helping with all phases of updating our Crisis Management Manual and Plan and helping Aaron and me implement procedures to make us safer. In my meeting with the OP Police Department representative, one common thread ran through every recommendation. This was that the eyes and the ears of the Beth Torah community are the MOST essential safety tools that we have. That would be YOU. Your eyes and ears know best what belongs in our building, and what does not. Is the hair on the back of your neck standing up? Tell me. Is there someone in the building you have never seen before that does not look comfortable here? Tell me. A box, backpack and /or bag in a weird place? Let me know. And just like that, our ever present phrase of “We are the community we need,” takes on a whole new meaning. Your Beth Torah staff and Board is prepared for a crisis. So many unexpected, awful things can happen, but with your eyes and your ears and our preparedness, we will avert a crisis. No matter how small, how seemingly unimportant your concern may seem to you, I don’t see it that way. Let me know when you see the unusual here. I can offer you a face you know or a hug you need. I can sit and pray with you and I can let you know what our crisis manual recommends. I hope that the work being done can help you feel safe. Because you ARE safe here. Thank you to Bob Milgrim for stepping up to assist our community in our effort to be safe and thank you to all of you for being the eyes and the ears and, of course, being the community we need; to feel secure. Laura Intfen, Director of Community Connections | Page 6

Religious School Notes Bringing Education to you If you had told me even ten years ago that I’d eventually be the director of youth education for a religious school, I wouldn’t have believed you. Don’t get me wrong—I’d had my heart set on being an educator since I was in high school, but my path to the Weiner Religious School was not a direct one. My first job as an educator came when I worked as a literacy and classroom aide in an elementary school; I worked mostly with kindergarten through third grade, and I loved the joy that comes with teaching those early grades. I learned a lot about educational theory from this hands-on experience, and I also learned how important it was to approach these little folks carefully—my large frame and out-sized voice could easily make me the scariest person in the room, so I learned to emphasize my friendly personality. I also spent a lot of time on tiny chairs and on my knees so I wouldn’t tower over the students. Over time, I worked with K-6th graders, filling out my range of primary experience. As much as I loved this experience, when I went to graduate school, I decided to pursue my other love: literature. I completed a Master’s degree in Literature and Writing with an emphasis in medieval literature; as much as I enjoyed my subject-matter focus, I found that my true passion drove me to become a teacher of teachers; my favorite classes involved teaching the teaching of writing to K-12 teachers, especially since these classes brought together my love of teaching and my love of furthering education. After more than a decade of teaching, I transitioned to administration, focusing on curriculum development and assessment. My work in these areas took me into in-class as well as online education. I found this work challenging and fulfilling, but I discovered that I missed the classroom, so it was around this time—about seven years ago—that I started teaching in the Weiner Religious School. Joining the staff here at Congregation Beth Torah was a dream come true for me, and when the Board asked if I’d consider following in Marcia’s footsteps, I felt that the move brought together my love of teaching, administration, and Judaism in the most perfect possible way. Having worked with Marcia for the last seven years, I know what an amazing and positive person she is. We have been fortunate to have her. I am looking forward to continuing her good work and to improving the award-winning NATEAccredited Weiner Religious School. Finally, I’d love to hear what you think about the programs we have running, too, so let’s grab a coffee and chat! Aaron Nielsenshultz, Director of Youth , Education, and Engagement

Bringing Adult Education To You

What interests you? What aspect of Jewish life and learning would you like to know more about? In our new Adult Education model, you get to pick a topic, a time, and a place for you and nine others to learn about. Here are some potential topics: Coping with Illness Bullying Judaism and American Foreign Policy Comparative Judaism If you’d like to learn more or if you’re ready to schedule, call or email Aaron (913) 498-2212 or | Page 7

Special Programs PJ Library

Looking for a way to make Fridays a little special? Why not come to PJ Library at Congregation Beth Torah! On the second Friday night of each month, from 5:50 p.m. to 6:10 p.m., we’ll share a PJ Library book and a craft or other fun project. You’ll get to hear a great story from the PJ Library collection, and you’ll finish just in time for Fam Jam (No Fam Jam in June), our Friday night family sing-along. Enjoy a snack at the nosh before worship, and you’ll still be able to get your kiddos home in time for bed. We’d love to see you on Friday, June 13th. PJ Library/Shalom Baby, a program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, is brought to you in partnership with Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City. It is also generously supported by Jewish Community Foundation Legacy Fund, Jewish Heritage Foundation and Menorah Legacy Foundation.

Just About 4

Our Just About 4 playgroup continues! We’ll be doing a Havdalah house-party for the little ones on June 21st. Contact Aaron for more information.

Ongoing Adult Education Offerings for June 2014 Yiddish Circle Yiddish Circle of Learning continues to grow into the summer months in the Bride’s Room at Beth Torah. Bring a lunch and a nominal donation followed by one hour of learning time devoted to the Yiddish language and culture. Knowledge of Yiddish not a requisite for attending. Come learn and laugh with Ray Davidson each Friday at noon. Wisdom on Wednesdays - Study sacred texts with other Beth Torah members on Wednesdays at noon in the Bride’s Room. Discussion on the Writings of the Torah - Join the community in discussion on Shabbat morning, 9:00 to 10:15 a.m. in the library. | Page 8

Family Grade Level Socials Our religious school families have been planning their own family socials in the last few months, getting together to do mitzvah projects or share dinner and play time. Perhaps you’re headed to the park after Sunday School—invite your children’s classmates; if you’re going to Shabbat services, arrange to go out to dinner or lunch with other families from your religious school grades. Aaron Nielsenshultz would be glad to help you arrange a casual get-together with friends or other families. Just let Aaron know what you’re thinking, and we can work together to create a no-stress get-together. Aaron can’t wait to hear from you!

Contact: or (913) 498-2212

Youth Activities YOUTH GROUP NEWS: BTTY held an Election Caucus on May 4, 2014. Serving on the BTTY Board next year will be: President – Margo Hellman Program VP – Katie Fine Social Action VP – Jared Boehm Religious & Cultural VP – Liam Nielsenshultz Membership VP – Corey Minkoff Communications & Visual VP – Billy Jacob Special Projects Coordinator – Annica Davis Junior Youth Group Liaison – Sarah Shaw Future Leaders – Blaire Ellenberg, Oscar Chase & Will Reicher Advisor: Hannah Michelson

JYG/TYG News For entering 2014-15 9th-12th Graders

CAMP NEWS Beth Torah offers a Camp Farewell during our annual Erev Shavuot Picnic and Worship on Tuesday, June 3, 2014. The YAEC will present students who are headed to camp or Israel with a farewell gift. Thank you to all the parents who responded to the pleas of information about when and where their children will be attending camp this year. Letters are written to every camper. Let the office know if your child is not on this list so they can receive a letter, too! The Beth Torah students going to camp are: Chloe Azorsky, Gabi Azorsky, Rebecca Bachmuth, Olivia Balanoff, Aaron Berkowitz, Jared Boehm, Oscar Chase, Lauren Cole, Isaac Decker, Chloe Ephraim, Josh Frumkin, Nina Gale, Lindsay Gill, Mackenzie and Braxton Hammontree Rylee Hendrikse, Mya Levitch, Asa Maker, Eli Maker, Corey Minkoff, Elyana Myer, Liam Nielsenshultz, Aisling Nielsenshultz, Avi Pavin, Sarah Rawitch, Sarah Shaw, Jacob Shaw, Emily Tranin, Noah Waldman, Conner Wilson, Keeley Wright.

e to Welcom amp C r Summe

Tuesday, June 3, 2014 8:15 p.m. until 7:30 a.m. Kehilath Israel Synagogue (10501 Conser)

Get acquainted with teens from all over KC! Go to for more information and to register.

Stay Connected! Visit our Website: Follow us on Twitter: @BethTorah Join us on Facebook: Congregation Beth Torah (or E-mail us at and we will send you the links!) | Page 9

Beth Torah News Thank You For Breakfast & Ice Cream Join the group who helps offset the cost of our Sunday breakfasts. Our breakfast selections include flavored cream cheese (fruit, veggie and salmon in addition to plain), butter and jelly and a rotation of muffins, cinnamon rolls, donuts, croissants or fresh fruit. On Wednesday evenings our TAG students are treated to ice cream, or an occasional other special treat! For your sponsorship of only $60, we’ll put your name and the event you are honoring on electronic kiosk and your name will be read from the Bima! An additional note of appreciation goes to those families who get up early and help set up our breakfast each Sunday morning. A big thank you to all of our families that sponsored breakfast or ice cream in May: Miki & Gregg Herman in honor of Sophia’s Birthday Jennifer, Molly & Kate Levinson in honor & in memory of the life of Craig Citron Sali & Steve Holmes in honor of Mikaela & Jonathan Rittmaster Ilya & Michele Frumkin in honor of Evan & Lauren’s Birthday’s Jeff & Melinda Janofsky in honor of Cameron’s 12th Birthday Want to sponsor a breakfast next year? You can sign up on the sign-up poster in the ulam on Sunday mornings or call the Beth Torah office. No worries about payment; we will bill you during the month of your sponsorship. | Page 10

Notes From the Board of Trustees


t the Annual Meeting, we responded to questions from our members, and heard their desire for more knowledge of what goes on, and how things happen at Beth Torah. The Board of Trustees will publish regular notes in the Tekiah, sharing transition updates, financial information, discussion and decisions taken at Board meetings. In addition, we remind you that monthly Board meetings, typically held the second Monday evening, are open to members.


hank you to those who attended, or sent in a proxy, for the Annual Meeting, held on April 27th. The slate of officers, and continuing and new members of the Board, were elected by unanimous vote. See the back cover for their names. The 2014/2015 budget was also approved, following much discussion and the addition of $4,000 to support the transition from budgeted to volunteer Nosh. Board members Bonnie Swade and Alexis Schwartz will cochair the new Nosh Committee. You will be hearing from them as they form their committee, seeking ideas and volunteers. A Babysitting Committee will also be formed.


n order to give members more frequent insight into the financial status of the congregation, we have arranged for a quarterly focus on financials, scheduling Sunday morning Congregational Forums on October 26, 2014, and January 25, 2015, where we will discuss the latest financial statements, and other topics of interest. Put these dates on your calendar now, so you don’t miss this opportunity. An unaudited fiscal year-end statement will be inserted in the July/August Tekiah.


he sale of the lease on the Sprint Tower is moving forward, and is expected to close early in the summer. As discussed at the meeting, this influx of cash will address current and future budget shortfalls, and provide additional funding to meet building repair needs.

inally, in response to the tragic events at the JCC and Village Shalom, Beth Torah initiated a review and enhancement to its own building security. Board member Bob Milgrim has agreed to serve as Security Liaison, partnering with Laura Intfen, who writes in detail on this topic on page 6.

The Caring Connection Team is here for you -

Are you or a family member facing a health care challenge? Do you have an upcoming surgery and not much support when you get home? Do you have a family member struggling with a chronic illness? DO YOU NEED A LITTLE EXTRA HELP? The Caring Connection Team is up and running and available to provide practical support like running errands, occasional transportation, a friendly visit or phone call, or relieving a family caregiver for a few hours. Your Beth Torah Community is part of your support network, along with your family and friends. Give us a call if we can be of help: Kelly Somberg, CCT Team Leader (913) 205-6411 or

CBT Music Program

Judith Benson, Music Program Coordinator

Hard to know where to start with all the news from music at Beth Torah. It’s been a bit of a challenge picking up the “baton”, but things have truly fallen into place. First, our wonderful Music Program Transition Committee made the recommendation to the Personnel Committee to hire Ms. Emily Tummons as our next permanent Music Director. Emily quickly became beloved by those who experienced her worship leading from our bimah. Her qualifications run deep, and our community is fortunate that she has found her home with us. Emily is completing a previous commitment this summer, and will formally join our staff on August 1, 2014. In the meantime, our musical worship will be led my myself, Lezlie Zucker or Tim Intfen...or sometimes all three! We are also welcoming a new, very talented piano accompanist, Carmen Guenther, who will occasionally accompany for Saturday morning worship services, as well as accompany our choir and congregation for High Holy Days. The choir will begin rehearsing in June, with Texanna Ollenberger, in order to fully prepare for High Holy Day worship. They will be supporting our High Holy Day soloist, Rabbi Uri Barnea, who will sing for most of the traditional services. Emily Tummons will provide music for our contemporary services, and she is formulating music for meaningful worship. Whatever service you attend, the music aspects of High Holy Day worship promise to be as beautiful as they are meaningful. There is much more happening, which will be discussed as our summer moves along, but overall, expect the musical aspects of worship at Beth Torah to be intentional and thoughtful. Our voices together make us strong, and help make our worship whole. Thank you for your patience and support! Judith Benson Music Program Coordinator

In Memoriam: Gerald Polokoff Grandfather of Jenny Ball Esther Abend Mother of Stephen Abend Denise Holsberger Wife of Jim Holsberger Carolyn Pendergrass Mother of David Pendergrass Marvin Freedman Uncle of Dan Somberg Kevin Fisk Brother-in-law of Mike Orensberg Leah Fay Salzberg Sister of Linda Khadavi Howard Novorr Father of Richard Novorr Rose Feldman Bill Swearingin Father of Debbie Bass and grandfather of Tori Bass

Bat Mitzvah of Annie Berman Annie Berman, daughter of Kevin and Stacy Berman, will celebrate her Bat Mitzvah at Shabbat worship on June 14th at 10:30 a.m. Annie is a 7th grader at Pleasant Ridge Middle School. She does horseback riding, loves singing, and enjoys drawing and spending time with friends and family. She is the granddaughter of Jeffrey and Gail Berman and Ron and Carol Blackley. The congregation is welcome to join the community at the Kiddush luncheon following the service.

B’nai Mitzvah of Alex & Ethan Rein Alex and Ethan Rein, sons of Suzy and Todd Rein, will celebrate their B’nai Mitzvah at Shabbat worship at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 5th. Alex and Ethan are in the 7th grade at Frontier Trail Middle School. Alex enjoys playing baseball and building things with his hands. Ethan enjoys baseball and art. The family looks forward to seeing the Beth Torah community at worship, and invites the community to a Kiddush luncheon following services. | Page 11

Contributions Beth Torah General Fund Adrienne Balagar

In Memory Of: Esther Abend Joel & Carol Lissauer Suzi Weiner Emil Turk Irving Fenster Lyubov Kapustin Joseph & Tatyana Shuklaper Roza Kheyfets Samuel Zeyfmacher Oleg Kheyfets In Honor Of: Samantha Hammontree Matt & Shanna Haun Frank & Robin Sterneck Barry & Linda Katz

Rabbi Levin Discretionary Fund In Memory Of: Sarah Riseman Jay Riseman Mother, Helen Davidson Ray Davidson Father, Herman Hurst Radine Shaw Phil Kessler Bill Kessler Denise Holsberger Joshua & Sarah Stolker Rose Sarah Klopper Karen Agron Flattery Dorothy Kreitman Bobbie & Joe Levy Alan Elfanbaum Rita Stark Dorothy Kreitman Joseph Stark Howard & Rita Stark Sam Freed Ron Freed Isabelle Irene Childers Ron & Jo Ann Ginson In Appreciation Of: Joyce & Alisa Kartch Ron & Jo Ann Ginson

Rabbi’s Fund For Social Justice Projects In Honor Of: Rabbi Levin’s Retirement Steve & Denise Ellenberg In Memory Of: Sylvie Reice The Benson Family | Page 12

Rabbi Reice Discretionary Fund In Memory Of: Edward Serlin Tina Shea

CBT Fund For Families In Need In Memory Of: Denise Holsberger Beth, Jim, Madeline & Ben Carlson Carissa Jacobs Amy Michelson Mary Beth Pupo Grandfather, Martin Gilgus Janet & Jeff Razafsky Sam Freed Lynne & Morris Faiman Mania Gutterman Esther Markus & Weber, Adam and Mike Ingersoll Carolyn Pendergrass Lisa Theis Sara Rothstein Viola Worthington Ruth & Michael Worthington In Honor Of: Birth of Vic & Adrianne Applebaum’s granddaughter Phyllis Goldberg

Choir Fund In Honor Of: Linda Sweenie Glenn Philips Jack Feldman Fred & Barbara Gustin

Hunger Fund In Memory Of: Denise Holsberger Annette & Joel Fish Elaine Holsberger Elizabeth & Dan Kersting UBC Alvin B. Sloofman Pam & Bill Kanter Father & Grandfather, Leonard Klein Lesly & Issy Ozar Stephanie Elyachar Esther Silverstein Minnie Klutznick Janet & Jeff Razafsky Dorie Chortek Doug & Colleen Polsky Dorathea Polsky Bess Crane Michael Crane

In Honor Of: Birth of Alice Capson’s granddaughter Annette & Joel Fish

Social Justice Fund In Memory Of: Joseph Razafsky Janet & Jeff Razafsky Marvin Shalinsky Linda & Ron Rubin & Family Janice Eichler James and Kelly Kaplan

CBT Camp Scholarship Fund In Memory Of: Denise Holsberger Roberta O’Kelly Duana Linville Dralus Rose Feldman Maureen & Sandy Salz In Honor Of: Hedy Goldman Maureen & Sandy Salz

Prayerbook Fund In Memory Of: Isaac Bein Deena Jenab Dorothy Goldstein Martin & Irene Goldstein

Dr. Milton L. Tate Torah Fund In Memory Of: George Kaplan Alice Kaplan

Amy Dennis Pierron Music Fund In Memory Of: Leah Fay (Moss) Salzberg Alice Capson

Youth Activities Fund In Honor Of: Marcia Rittmaster Adrianne & Vic Applebaum

Weiner Religious School Fund In Honor Of: Marcia Rittmaster’s retirement Ruth & Michael Worthington

Happenings in the Community Benefiting the Research to Fight Mitochondrial Disease “Mitochondria are your cells’ powerhouses. Mitochondrial disease is the body’s inability to turn food into energy needed to sustain life.” Please join congregant Barb Mendelson for the 5th annual Bowling with Barb event, happening Sunday, July 13th, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., to be held at Ward Parkway Lanes, 1523 West 89th St, KC, MO 64114. This is a fundraising event to support research of Mitochondrial Disease. For more information, contact Barb at

The Gift Shop at Congregation Beth Torah The Gift Shop at Congregation Beth Torah makes many contributions to our community. Our motto is “where shopping turns into a mitzvah” and that is, truly, how all the committee members and volunteers really feel. It is our mission to help support our community in many important ways. Henri Goettel was the winner of our social justice project and I was privileged to present a check to JFS Food Pantry. Did you know that the JFS Food Pantry is located at the JCC? Did you know JFS Food Pantry offers individuals and family a respectful way to get most of their grocery needs? This is a need-based pantry which offers food, and other nonedible house supplies, even pet food. The pantry relies on donations to keep the shelves full, volunteers to help sort the donations and to assist every person when they come to shop. The JFS Food Pantry is a vital part of our community. It is my hope that each of you could find out what our community has to offer and then VOLUNTEER. Remember, we are the community we need. If you don’t support our community, then it may not be here for our children and their community in the future. We are close to the end of another year, but there is still a lot to do. We need your help for the next year and we have several ways you can help. First, come to our shop and make at least 2 gift purchases each year. Second, go to our on-line shop through the Beth-Torah. org website. We are located at the bottom of the home page where you will see a banner that says “World of Judaica”. Any time you need a gift, please think of our website as a great quick and easy place to find both Judaica and non Judaica gifts. Finally, get involved in our shop by volunteering to help once a month. If you could help us, please call Kelly Kaplan at (913) 498-1474.

Mazel Tov to the 2014/2015 Board of Trustees President: Linda Zappulla First Vice President: Barry Katz Vice President: Mike Ginsberg Vice President: Matt Haun Secretary: Bonnie Swade Treasurer: Dan Davidson Immediate Past President: Michelle Cole Trustees: Judith Benson, Chuck Cantor, Sue Crane Jeff Altman, Chuck Cantor, Tom Cohen, June Crane, Todd Davisson, Mike Fine, Mikki Herman, Bob Milgrim, Alexis Schwartz, David Spizman, Frank Sterneck & SueAnn Strom BTTY President: Margo Hellman

Summer Hours: Beginning May 19th, The Gift Shop will be open: Monday 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.; Wednesday 10:00 a.m. to Noon and Friday 10:00 a.m. to noon, or by appointment- call Kelly Kaplan at (913) 498-1474. Have a fun and safe summer. Shalom, Kelly and all our volunteers

Hannah Feldman, Mackenzie Haun, Emma Benson, our Family Service Worship music volunteers, on Sunday, May 11th | Page 13

June 2014 Calendar

Sponsorships: June 13th-14th – Pulpit flowers and the Shabbat morning Kiddush luncheon is sponsored by Stacy and Kevin Berman in honor of the bat mitzvah of their daughter, Annie Berman. | Page 14 | Page 15

Congregation Beth Torah

Non-Profit Org. U.S. POSTAGE PAID Shawnee Mission, KS Permit No. 721

6100 W. 127th Street Overland Park, Kansas 66209


Tekiah # 279, June 2014

Congregation Beth Torah (913) 498-2212 Fax: (913) 498-1071 E-mail: Website:

Officers President................................................Linda Zappulla First Vice President...................................... Barry Katz Vice President........................................ Mike Ginsberg Vice President............................................... Matt Haun Secretary ............................................... Bonnie Swade Treasurer ................................................ Dan Davidson Immediate Past President........................ Michelle Cole Board of Trustees Jeff Altman Chuck Cantor Tom Cohen June Crane Todd Davisson Mike Fine Mikki Herman Bob Milgrim Alexis Schwartz David Spizman Frank Sterneck SueAnn Strom BTTY President................................... Margo Hellman Staff Rabbi............................... Mark H. Levin, D.H.L., D.D. Rabbi Educator ............... Rebecca R. Reice, M.A.J.E. Director of Community Connections ..........Laura Intfen Director of Youth, Education, and Engagement............................................... Aaron Nielsenshultz Office Manager....................................... Robin O’ Bryan Music Program Coordinator..................... Judith Benson Administrative Assistant..........................Sharon Altman Bookkeeper.......................................................Barb Kitt BTTY Adviser: Hannah Michelson JYG Advisers: Rachel Bolter & Zach Zwibelman Š Congregation Beth Torah, Overland Park, KS | Page 16



Tuesday, June 3rd 6:00 p.m. Picnic on our Lawn. Bring your own dinner and enjoy a meal with your community. Camp Farewell activities and gifts. 6:30 p.m. Outdoor worship including a blessing for our high school seniors and a special blessing for our summer campers and Israel travelers. We will read the 10 Commandments from our newly scribed Torah!

Shavuot Worship will be held Wednesday morning, June 4th, at 10:00 a.m. The office will be closed.

June 2014 tekiah  
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